Online Now 1230

Rewind: Pearlball in SEC tourney

Bruce Pearl has spent the past six years improving many things in the Tennessee men’s basketball program, including the Volunteers’ Southeastern Conference tournament results.

Bruce Pearl has done many good things in five-plus seasons at UT, but he hasn't won an SEC tournament.

That statement might seem silly to some, but consider that UT advanced to at least the semifinal round the past three years. Also consider that the Vols have played at least three games in the past two SEC tournaments, something they hadn’t done since the league restarted the annual tournament in 1979.

Before the first of Pearl’s two consecutive three-and-done weekends, UT hadn’t played that many games in the tournament since losing to Alabama in the 1991 championship game.

Has it been an improvement?

Yes. No question.

But what Pearl hasn’t done, obviously, is win UT’s fifth SEC tournament title. His Vols were crushed by Kentucky last year in a semifinal, and Mississippi State shocked them in a thrilling 2009 championship game.

UT (18-13, 8-8 SEC) comes into this week’s conference tournament with a No. 5 seed, by far its worst in the Pearl Era. But the league is full of parity, and the only expectation most have for this weekend is that Kentucky fans will again turn Georgia’s capital city into “Catlanta.”

Before the focus shifts to today’s press conference and Thursday's first round game against SEC West No. 4 seed Arkansas (18-12, 7-9), here’s a quick recap of UT’s SEC tournament history with Pearl on the bench.

2006 SEC TOURNAMENT, NASHVILLE
Regular season record: 21-6
SEC record, East Division standing: 12-4, 1st
East tournament seed: No. 1
RESULTS
Quarterfinal vs. East No. 5 seed South Carolina: L, 79-71

Tennessee will need plenty of points from star Scotty Hopson to win four games in four days and take home the program's fifth SEC tournament championship trophy.

2007 SEC TOURNAMENT, ATLANTA
Regular season record: 22-9
SEC record, East Division standing: 10-6, Tied-2nd
East tournament seed: No. 3
RESULTS
First round vs. West No. 6 seed LSU: L, 76-67 (OT)

2008 SEC TOURNAMENT, ATLANTA
Regular season record: 28-3
SEC record, East Division seed: 14-2, 1st
East tournament seed: No. 1
RESULTS
Quarterfinal vs. East No. 5 seed South Carolina: W, 89-87
Semifinal vs. West No. 2 seed Arkansas: L, 92-91

2009 SEC TOURNAMENT, TAMPA
Regular season record: 19-11
SEC record, East Division standing: 10-6, Tied-1st
East tournament seed: No. 1
RESULTS
Quarterfinal vs. West No. 4 seed Alabama: W, 86-62
Semifinal vs. West No. 2 seed Auburn: W, 94-85
Championship game vs. West No. 3 seed Mississippi State: L, 64-61

2010 SEC TOURNAMENT, NASHVILLE
Regular season record: 23-7
SEC record, East Division standing: 11-5, 3rd
East tournament seed: No. 3
RESULTS
First round vs. West No. 6 seed LSU: W, 59-49
Quarterfinal vs. West No. 2 seed Ole Miss: W, 76-65
Semifinal vs. East No. 1 Kentucky: L, 74-45

2011 SEC TOURNAMENT, ATLANTA
Regular season record: 18-13
SEC record, East Division standing: 8-8, 5th
East tournament seed: No. 5
RESULTS
First round vs. West No. 4 seed Arkansas: ???

Contact Wes Rucker at wrucker@247sports.com, www.twitter.com/wesrucker247 or www.facebook.com/wesrucker247

Already have an account? Sign In